MULBERRY. The mulberry family (Moraceae) is usually included, along with the closely-allied figs, bread,, fruits, nettles, hops, planes, and elms, in one vast alliance of monochlamydeous Exogens, the order Urticacease (or Ulmacease, as Baillon prefers to call it). The Moraceae include three sub-families, of which the typical genera are: Dostenia, which is almost a Fig; Broussonetia, the Paper Mulberry of Japan, the East Indies, and the South Sea Islands; and Morus, the Mulberry proper, of which the ten or twelve species are all native to temperate regions in Asia and America, or to hill regions in their tropics, but are readily cultivated in similar climates in Europe, Africa, and Australia.
The Black Mulberry (Morus nigra, L.) is mainly cultivated for its purplish black compound fruits (a sorosis formed by the aggregated drupes of the whole female inflorescence), which is wholesome and palatable if eaten fresh from the tree before acetous fermentation has had time to set in. Save in syrup, and on account of its rich dark0red colouring matter, it has no longer any pharmaceutical uses. (See HORTICULTURE, vol. xii. p. 272)
The White Mulberry (M. alba, L.), so called from its nearly white fruits, is the one mainly employed in sericulture. There are many varieties, among which the Philippine Mulberry (var. multicaulis) is perhaps most highly esteemed. The American and Indian species (M. Americana and M. indica, the latter not to be confounded with Morinda citrifolia, a cinchonaceous tree, sometimes also called Indian Mulberry) are also cultivated for the same purpose.
For systematic and descriptive purposes se "Morus" in Baillon, Hist. d. Plantes, vi; or Luersean, Med. Pharm. Botanik, vol. ii. For history and economic uses see F. v. Müller, Select Plants for Culture in Victoria, Melbourne, 1876; and Hehn, Kulturpflanzen, &c., 3d ed., Berlin, 1877; also SILK.